As we continue through the Gospel of Mark, we come to an interesting encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders of Jerusalem.
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request. After all, the leaders of Israel need to make sure that Jesus is the legitimate Messiah of the Jewish people. But, as always, attitude is everything.
Authority is basically the permission to do something. It must always be delegated from someone who has it.
In the Lord’s case, it should have been fairly obvious. Who gave Him permission to heal the sick, open blind eyes, or raise the dead? There’s only one place that authority could have come from – God the Father.
The Lord gets right to the heart of the matter.
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism — was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!”
The leaders of Israel wanted to look like they were experts in judging spiritual matters. So Jesus turns it around.
“If you want to investigate my spiritual credentials, then let’s see how well you’ve done in the past.”
The Lord used what should have been a real easy test. John the Baptist led the nation back to God in repentance and a true change of heart.
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’ . . . .” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
This discussion cuts right to the bottom line of the problem. Did they talk about John’s lifestyle or the message He preached? No!! Their only concern was the result of what they would answer.
This is politics in its purest form. Truth takes a backseat to my image. It’s about how people will perceive me based upon my answers. That type of attitude gets no response from God.
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
There are too many churches that fall into this category in our generation. God’s will has nothing to do with their decisions. It’s all about who’s in power, and what they personally want to accomplish.
We need to get back to our roots as believers. Being a people of prayer who want to see God’s desire done in our lives. It’s not how big I build my kingdom, or how many people think I’m the best. I need to see God’s kingdom increase on the earth.
One thing is for certain, spirituality and politics don’t mix very well in the government of Christ.
Question: Why does the will of the majority not always equal the will of God?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi